Name of the Postdoctoral Fellow

Name of the Supervisor

Brief Description of Project

Sillarine Kurkalang

Arindam Maitra

Study of intra-tumour heterogeneity associated with tumour recurrence in oral squamous cell carcinoma gingivo-buccal (OSCC-GB)
Oral squamous cell carcinoma gingivo-buccal (OSCC-GB), the most common cancer in India, is mostly diagnosed at advanced stages. Despite advances in treatment modalities, survival rate has not significantly improved over time. Tumour recurrence is common.  Hence, there is an urgent need to understand the underlying mechanism of recurrence. Tumours harbour multiple cell types. The composition of and interactions between these cell types affect growth, metastasis and response to therapy. Current evidence emerging in other cancer types suggest that the intra-tumor heterogeneity plays a role in the ability of solid tumors to evade therapies and thus result in poor prognosis. However, intra-tumour heterogeneity associated with tumour recurrence in OSCC-GB remains to be characterized. Therefore, the present study aims to identify the underlying heterogeneity of cells in tumors of OSCC-GB patients exhibiting tumour recurrence. Single-cell RNA sequencing will be used to identify intra-tumour heterogeneity in OSCC-GB patients (a) who have tumour recurrence within one year of surgery and (b) those who do not have tumour

Manjarika De

Sreedhar Chinnaswamy

Type III IFN (IFN-λ) family was discovered in 2003 among which IFN-λ4, the newest member was discovered only in 2013. A dinucleotide variant upstream of IFNL3 (IL28B) gives rise to IFN-λ4 by causing a frame-shift in the ORF of the gene. Only a subset of the human population possesses the variant allele ΔG at the dinucleotide polymorphism rs368234815 that causes the frame-shift in exon 1, producing a fully functional IFN-λ4. IFN-λ signaling is apparently restricted to epithelial cells, hepatocytes and some immune cells due to the restricted distribution of the IFN lambda receptor complex (IFNLR). Although, role of type III IFNs in clearance of viruses is widely studied, not much has been explored to ascertain their role in Leishmania infection partly because Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease. Therefore, studying the immunomodulatory role of IFN-λ4 in general and the role of IFN-λs in Leishmaniasis in particular, can lead us to novel paradigms. Moreover, some strong association between PKDL (Post kalazar dermal leishmaniasis) with IFN-λ signaling cannot be undermined as IFNLR are highly expressed in epithelial cells. In this context, my study is aimed at characterizing IFN-λ4’s role as an immunomodulatory cytokine and in characterizing the functions of IFN-λs in Leshmania infections.